Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This Will Cheer You Up!

Check out this beautiful treasury by Moon Shine Blue Birds - my drawstring toy bag is at the top. I LOVE all these bright colors! Makes me forget we've been stuck inside for weeks...

My New Favorite Picture

I love the way this picture turned out! This is the new patchwork play mat I just listed in the shop - pretty colorful. I always get so stressed out about photographing new items, but this time the "photo shoot" went really well. My new camera has made all the difference! I just discovered the "foliage" setting (a tiny picture of a leaf) that really keeps the greens and blues from getting washed out. I think I might frame this picture for my future crafting room...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Guess What We Got Today...

It was a very pleasant surprise to wake up to huge snowflakes falling outside after a long night of potty training incidents (will we ever sleep through the night again?!?!) at the end of a LONG weekend of Daddy being out of town.

Of course, we got the "Silicon Valley" version of snow: it snowed for 5 minutes and stuck around for no longer than 2 hours. As soon as we got out of bed and saw the snow, I threw a coat and boots on Moses and we ran outside to enjoy it while it lasted. He was thrilled that we were playing outside in our "P-Jams." Pretty fun way to wake up. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Teddy's Big Break

Teddy is so excited - today is his big Etsy debut! Mommy decided that he was just what she needed to show how great this new toy bag was, so she decided to include him in one of the pictures. First he had to take a bath, since Mommy is paranoid about the cleanliness of the things that touch her products. But after that, and a nice long tumble in the dryer, he was all fluffed up and ready for his photo shoot. Mommy said she is so pleased with the cuteness of this picture that she is going to make Teddy a toy bag of his own to play in!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Find - Loops Designs

I am SO excited about this featured etsyian - today I present to you the shop that made me a jewelry person: Loops Designs. I was always the girl who wore the same little hoops every day until I happened upon Sarah Dibble's shop, and now I'm buying earrings like crazy. Everything in her shop is totally unique, gorgeous, and well-made. I also love her jewelry because it can be worn with just about everything and is SO comfortable (She also has a line of wedding and formal jewelry over at Twizzle Designs.).

These are the earrings I wear almost every day - the Serpent silver earrings - so cool!

And check these out - they can be worn with or without the stone on them, so it is like getting two pair in one. I've bought these for several of my friends and they all love them.

And there are TONS more choices at Loops Designs, not to mention necklaces, gold, copper, and even large gauge earrings. Check it out and have fun!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Moment of Inspiration

Who would have guessed that the cure to a grouchy and sleep-deprived (thanks to a midnight potty training episode) two-year-old is a tin full of old buttons? Thank you grandma!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

And the cake... takes the cake.

This weekend my friend Deborah and I hosted a bridal shower for our friend Rebecca at my mother-in-law's house. It was a small shower - only 9 people- but it was so much fun! I don't know if you've ever been to a small bridal shower (I hadn't), but I found it to be really relaxing and intimate. And something about the familiar atmosphere made everyone go ALL OUT on the games we had planned - everyone was so crazy and competitive! It was a blast to see some of our "older" friends act like the teenagers they feel like inside.

Look at this cake Deborah had made - it is from Flower Flour in Willow Glen and was so gorgeous I had to take about 20 pictures of it. That is real white chocolate, not frosting, on the outside. ( !!! ) I think we may have talked more about this cake than we did about Rebecca's wedding plans.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Brainstorming Pile

That's what I call this, which appears on our couch every other weekend or so. When I've finished a sewing project and am deciding what to make next, I browse through my many bins of fabric and pull out whatever strikes my fancy. Then I let them sit out in plain view for a while (I call this the percolation period) and eventually something kind of occurs to me, be it a fun fabric combination or a completely new project. I'm not sure my husband apreciates my creative process very much (have I mentioned how small our house is?) as it further limits our already negligible seating space. But it's how I came up with this (more coming soon, by the way) and this, so it seems to work.

I've also compiled all my cowboy scraps (I'm such a sucker for cute western themed fabric!) and have a pretty cool quilt in the works right now. It will be something like this but with a more complicated patchwork pattern. I hope you are all having a productive (and restful) weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sometimes the Healthy Version Tastes Yucky.

That's what I learned when I tried to make a healthy version of the Monte Cristo sandwich. Apparantly the main draw of the Monte Cristo is that is is cooked in a vat of boiling oil. Eliminate that and you basically just have a grilled cheese sandwich with egg on it. Lucky for me, Moses has never had the real thing, so a grilled cheese sandwich (made with 9 grain bread, no less) dunked in egg and cooked with Pam spray tasted just FINE to him. He even ate the "crust part." :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crafting Update and Reader Poll

Well it was a pretty productive weekend over here. Moses took nice long naps and Brett was busy working on our house "down-the-hill" (we're renovating a house in San Jose) in the evenings, so I was able to fit in a lot of sewing time. I'll be finishing up 4 or 5 projects this week for posting in the shop. Don't you just love the spring colors?

SO, now I need help from all my lovely blog readers. I am trying to decide whether or not to switch to a more natural background when I photograph my work for posting in the shop. To date I've been photoshopping out the backgrounds of all my pictures so they have a white background. It's a pretty cool look, but I'm wondering if it's a bit too sterile. I find myself more drawn to pictures with natural backgrounds and would love to hear what you think. Below is a picture of a "natural background," and just click here to see a white background. Which one looks better? Which picture would make you more likely to buy the product? PLEASE let me know what you think; I totally value your opinions! (Oh yes, and remember that everyone who leaves a comment this month is eligible to win these...) Thanks so much!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Find: Jek in the Box

Well, I can't possibly hope to do this every Friday, but I'm hoping to bring you a bit of etsy goodness every other Friday. Today we're looking at Jek in the Box, a fabulous and colorful store that I stumbled across the other day while searching for "sachets". Look at these "buggy sachets!" They are filled with either lavender or cocoa husks (yum!) and each one has a picture of a moth on the back. I love all the fun fabrics she's used to put these together.

Then there are these Fruity Fun Pillows - you can get them in color or black and white. Each one is also filled with yummy smelly stuff and comes with a ribbon attached for hanging.

And I can't resist showing you this "Pop Memory" game. Did you ever play this matching game when you were little? Well, here we have a hand-made (yay!) version where you match the fabric patterns. Such a great game for the future crafter in your life.
There are lots more fun things at Jek in the Box, so scoot on over there and check it out! The colorful pictures and witty item descriptions are, in themselves, a wonderful reason to pay this little shop a visit. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Keep Your Eyes Peeled...

... for this super cute baby blanket! This Alexander Henry print is so awesome and I just love the color combination of green and brown. I finally managed to catch enough sunlight to take pictures of it (I don't know how you Oregonion etsyians do it!) and I'll be posting it in the shop soon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Revised Family Portrait

It has been 3 years since we took a family picture. The last one was taken at my parents' house after opening gifts on Christmas. We are all in our pj's, looking a bit groggy, and there in the middle (because she is the shortest) is my mom, in her beloved blue bathrobe and clutching her ever-present cup of morning coffee.

It's hard to believe that was three years ago already, and that we've already celebrated 3 Christmasses without her. Hard to believe it's been this long since we've gotten up the nerve to take another family picture. Somehow, capturing our revised family on film also captures her absence all too tangibly. And calling it a family picture doesn't seem quite right either. But this year it seemed enough time had passed to take the plunge. So here we are (although we're also missing Brett, my hubby, who was at work), doing our best to "look crazy," even though we're really just a bunch of book-loving nerds (except for the upside-down one, who actually is crazy!).

And at the risk of making this "crafting blog" just a bit too real, I will end by saying this. In my own journey of grief, I have learned that time does not heal all wounds. I know that it is possible to miss someone forever. But above all, I have learned that God is good and there is peace to be found. So here's wishing you and yours many fun family photos, revised or otherwise, this year and for many years to come.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Drawstring Bags

Just in case you can't wait for the results of the January Give Away, I'll be putting a couple more sets of drawstring bags in the shop by the end of the day. These are so cute and have so many different uses! I finally thought ahead enough to make myself a set of the pink bags, and they hold all of the little weird things that were otherwise floating around in my purse along with the cheerio crumbs. I'm also planning on using a few of the smaller ones as gift card holders for upcoming birthdays. Pretty handy!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Look

Man, these sachets have come in handy! As you can see, I've made a new banner for this blog and the background is a close-up picture of these little guys. I love how those pictures turned out and love the sachets even more. Check out the shop too - I made a similar banner for my store front. Now I can check off "make new banner" from my "shop updates" to do list.

Friday, January 4, 2008


This is the view from my kitchen window. Normally there isn't a blue mattress smack in the middle of this view, but we're having a serious storm and that blew in some time this morning. The pond you see was actually almost empty yesterday, and has been filling up steadily since it started raining last night. Pretty wild for California standards - the news said we're having "hurricane force winds," but my friend Jen from Florida assures me it could be much worse. Needless to say, we're having an "inside day," not counting the walk from the mall parking lot to the inside of the mall. We just got home from spending a nice morning there with friends, where Moses was able to get out some of his pent-up energy. He's down for his nap now and I'm off to do some sewing (fingers crossed that we don't lose power). Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Grandma Marie's Sweet Potatoes

I made these last night (per my dad's request) and they were a huge success! My grandma has always had a way of taking an ordinary dish such as mashed sweet potatoes and turning it gourmet. Here's the recipe - forgive me for the absence of specific amounts of ingredients. This is how my grandma cooks, so you'll just have to wing it like I did. (It's pretty hard to mess up sweet potatoes!)

Sweet potatoes
Brown sugar
1.) Cut each orange in half horizontally and juice on a juicer (don't squeeze by hand as you're saving the orange peels to use a potato cups and don't want them to get smashed). Reserve juice. Clean out each orange "cup." I used a grapefruit knife to clean out most of it then scraped out the rest with a spoon. It's ok if there is a bit of orange pulp left over - it adds flavor.
2.) Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Boil in a large pot until potatoes start to fall apart. Strain. Mash or whip potatoes to desired consistency, adding splashes of reserved orange juice until potatoes are creamy (you won't use all the juice). Add butter, brown sugar, and salt to taste and mix well.
3.) Fill each orange cup with a "mountain" of potato mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the potato peaks begin to brown.
4.) Remove and serve. Yum!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January Give Away

Happy New Year everyone! I have been thinking a lot about different ways to improve both my shop and my blog in 2008, and am now implementing the first idea: monthly give-aways! This month, everyone who leaves a comment in any blog post will be entered into a drawing to win this set of drawstring bags. To see a similar pair of bags, visit this listing in my shop.

Oh, and don't forget about the sale... you still have a few more hours to save 10% on any purchase from my shop. Visit this post for details.